It is almost impossible to read the news today without hearing about some form of bullying. Whether bullying takes place in a preschool, college sports team or office setting, it is certainly not a new offence. However, there are even more ways that someone can become a bully now in our technologically advanced society.
Online bullying, or cyber bullying, has dramatically increased in recent years. Some people feel that online bullying is harmless because it is not a physical form of abuse, but nothing could be further from the truth. Tragically, numerous young people have ended their lives because of the trauma of online bullying.
If you are active in online chat rooms, you need to be aware that online bullying can take place. By understanding the problem, you can look out for warning signs and stop bullying quickly if it occurs.
First, it is vital to protect yourself and your personal information online. Online bullies can quickly turn into in-person bullies. If someone in a chat room is asking for information about what school you attend, where you live or other contact information, do not release this information.
Most online bullies are shrewd and tricky, so they will likely not simply ask you for your address. Instead, a bully could start a conversation by mentioning the weather in his area and asking how your weather is today. If you said that the weather was warm, he could respond by saying, “Oh, the weather is warm. You must live in sunny California.” When you respond and give him your state, he is one step closer to finding out your address.
If someone attempts to bully you in a chat room by making rude comments, the best thing to do is to ignore them. This works with online bullies as well as in-person bullies.
Most chat rooms have a “block” feature, so you should be able to block any further messages from the offending party.
If you are unable to stop online bullying, it is important to tell someone that you trust. Your parents and teachers can help you think of coping strategies to deal with bullies. Be honest about what is occurring and how it is making you feel. Online bullies love feeling powerful, but you can reduce their power by letting someone know that the bullying is occurring.
However, if a person online threatens you, you should take these threats seriously. Make copies of all threatening correspondence, and turn in this information to your local police.